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HIV & AIDS Health Center

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Blacks Top HIV/AIDS Diagnoses in U.S.

Further Proof of HIV's Harsh Toll on Black Community, CDC Says
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 10, 2006 -- In the U.S., HIV and AIDS continue to hit the black community harder than any other racial or ethnic group.

A new CDC report shows that of all racial and ethnic groups, blacks accounted for the largest percentage of HIV or AIDS diagnoses in 33 states from 2001-2004.

"Although blacks accounted for approximately 13% of the population of the 33 states during 2001-2004, they accounted for the majority of HIV/AIDS diagnoses," the CDC notes.

"Blacks accounted for the greatest percentage of cases among males (44%) and the majority of cases among females (68%)," the report continues. Blacks also had the biggest percentage of pediatric HIV/AIDS diagnoses linked to HIV's spread to babies from HIV-infected mothers (69%).

The findings "underscore that HIV continues [to] exact a devastating toll on blacks in the United States," states a CDC news release.

The study appears in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

HIV's Spread

Data included people diagnosed with HIV infection, with or without AIDS. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

Cases were confidentially reported, along with risk factors for HIV infection, including high-risk sexual contact and/or use of injected drugs.

"During 2001-2004, the most common mode of transmission for HIV infection for both black males and females was sex with a man," states the CDC.

"High-risk heterosexual contact is the main route of HIV transmission among black females and the second most common route among black males," the report continues.

Some areas with high AIDS rates -- such as California, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. -- weren't covered in the new study. But similar racial/ethnic gaps have been seen in past national research, the CDC notes.

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